Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How old do you think Sadie Cox is?

The BBC featured Sadie Cox (above) on the "Must See" section of their website today under the title 'A 100-year-old woman shares the secret of her young looks'. Her photo has gone viral on the net. 

While she does look younger than 100, her doing so is not that much of a surprise to me. That's because I live at a retirement home where most of the women - and the men - look a lot younger than they are. A fourth of the population is 90 and above.

Her secret:

"I can't stand old people. I'm not on their wavelength. They only talk about hospitals and the various appointments they've got. I don't want to know if you're getting your piles done tomorrow. 

 "Younger people always have something interesting to talk about, they talk about real life and what's going on now instead of reminiscing about how things used to be. 

 "Talk about what's going on today because that's the only thing we've got. What's been has been."

Another section of hell in Venezuela

When was the last time you heard of someone having tuberculosis? It's been years, many years, for me. But in Venezuela it is becoming more and more prevalent. The government no longer releases health statistics, so you have to look elsewhere. But at two vital tuberculosis centers in Caracas, the capital, the share of new patients who tested positive for the disease increased 40 percent or more in the last year alone. In one hospital 5% of the adults evaluated from 2013 to 2015 had TB. The number went to 9% in 2017 and is now at 14%. This is happening in a country that once was among the most robust in the hemisphere, with the nation boasting one of the lowest rates of infection in Latin America. One doctor comments, “All these forms of tuberculosis that we forget about are starting to reappear.” And, the problem may spread to other countries as more and more Venezuelans flee the country. And as the Venezuelan health system has fallen apart, the government’s ability to respond to epidemics has collapsed.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Rating Happiness

The UN publishes the Happiness Report every year. This year there is not much change when you look at the top 10. The same countries have appeared there for the past three years:

New Zealand 

The countries are ranked on the following - income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.

We are ranked 18th. The reasoning: "The U.S. is in the midst of a complex and worsening public-health crisis, involving epidemics of obesity, opioid addiction, and major depressive disorder that are all remarkable by global standards." Plus high levels of income inequality, a "woefully inadequate" health care system, corporate deregulation and increasing screen time on new technologies. "The main issue for the U.S. is not the lack of means to address the crises of public health and declining well-being. Rather, perhaps the major practical barrier is corporate lobbying that keeps dangerous corporate practices in place and imposes untold burdens on the poor and vulnerable parts of the U.S. population, coupled with the failure of the American political system to address and understand America's growing social crisis."

Here are the 10 unhappiest countries 
South Sudan 
Central African Republic 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Is this the way you fire someone?

Trump's tweet re Tillerson:
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
What world does Trump live in?  

All the news that's fit to print

That was - and may still be - the slogan of the New York Times. But a recent Frontline program causes me to question it. The program aired in February and analyzed the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. I just saw it today. Although somewhat too long, the program was interesting and reasonably comprehensive. The item that really caught my eye was the adulation and praise heaped on Saddam Hussein by the average Iraqi at the time of his execution. I and several of my friends could not recall any such demonstrations recorded in the media. Yes, the media has become less open in this century. But I would have thought that the praise of Saddam by his subjects would have been truly newsworthy.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Smartphones can become addictive - and that's not good

Economies need competition

Edmund S. Phelps, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2006, argues that China has become a more competitive economy while the West, since the 1930s has become less competitive. Phelps believes that "most Western governments have seen it as their duty to protect established enterprises from competition, even when it comes from new firms offering new adaptations or innovations". Trump's tariff program is a manifestation of this.

In the past few years China has moved to increase entrepreneurship and innovation and has made it easier to start a company. It has learned by allowing foreign experts to work on new projects in the business sector.

The leader in solar panels